Educating the Youth to Preserve the Traditions of the Ogoni and Mapuche People

Project start date: August 2009 - Project end date: August 2010
Project number: 2009-19
Beneficiary: UNPO


UNPO visited Temuco (Chile) at the end of 2009 to help start the school of Mapuche philosophy, spirituality and ancestral wisdom, and support the Mapuche people with advice on educational programs and training activities. During this visit, UNPO has noted with pleasure a great interest in the school by non-Mapcuhe students of the Catholic University of Temuco.

As for the Diploma in Mapuche Philosophy, ancestral wisdom and Mapudungun language, 25 young people from Chile and 15 from Argentina, aged between 25 and 45, are taking part in the project. They are interested in rediscovering their Mapuche identity and their culture and tradition, which have been repressed for many years. The idea of this diploma is be present on the field to help strengthen the Mapuche identity by creating a more positive self-image of the Mapuche people and to transmit the knowledge that is being slowly lost.
The diploma program is divided into theoretical and practical courses, held both in the classroom, and on the field. Also Mapuche families who speak Mapudungun will welcome students who want to put into practice the knowledge acquired during the year.

Finally, UNPO met a rural community to discuss the results of the Mapuche Summer School. This community is surrounded by a German colony, whose religious and social norms have been very influential and have greatly weakened the Mapuche culture. The school was intended to strengthen the Mapuche traditions within this small community and improve the sense of identity in children.
During the six days of meetings lessons were held on language, spirituality, philosophy, science and culture of ancestral Mapuche, to fill in the cultural void in those areas. Teaching is done through dance, singing and games. The summer school seems to have united the community through mutual understanding and the sharing of identity and Mapuche lifestyle. It was very important for children and adolescents to learn about the important role of community elders, and it was also instructive for children to understand their philosophy and make a comparison with what is taught in school.

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